Every light shadow looks like her out of the corner of my eye – a pillow, a blanket, a sunbeam. The pain of losing this companion is a loss that grieves with every small reminder of her absence. She’s not sleeping on the couch, not laying on my dirty laundry, not loitering in the bathroom every time someone wants to use it.
I just cannot imagine or believe her to be absent, after she’s been so present in my every moment. After Vin goes to work, she’s with me. After the kids go to bed, she’s with me. After everyone is asleep and I’m the only one awake – I’m praying, and she’s with me. She’s always been with me.
Just a peaceful evening…
I’m bored. Mama, I need a cuddle.
Excuse me, I said I need a cuddle. Move the book.
Yes, you. I’m talking to you. Hi. Snuggle? Chin rub?
Ohhhh, so much better. See? We both needed that.
This girl became one of my closest friends – which isn’t an insult to the incredible human friends in our lives, but an indication of how uncommonly wonderful she is.
I wake up at night and pray, and she’s right there next to my arm. I come upstairs for a breather at intervals throughout the day, and she’s next to my writing table. I hunker down next to her, and pray. After I’ve tucked the kids into bed, she curls up on my lap while I read the Bible, and I pray.
I do the dishes, and she hides under the open dishwasher door like it’s her personal canopy or fort. And I’m praying. Bossing kids usually, too, but also…praying.
A dear friend reassured me that this is not weird. She said some people have prayer shawls; I have a prayer cat. No biggie.
She was breathing deeply, her face tucked into a corner between my open Bible and the dirty flannel she’d been sleeping on.
She lost her vision the afternoon before, walking in circles, bumping into things. Sleeping with her eyes partly open. I just watched her breathe – her side rising and falling, asleep facing the window. I picked up white clouds of her fur from her staggered wanderings the night before.
Sometimes she pawed her front legs like she was kneading something, and the paw that I touched gripped my finger and stopped, while her other paw kept seeking.
We listened to worship music and I read the Psalms – this was no time for Leviticus – and I had other books to read also, but none of them were a part of this time, right here, in pain and closeness and quiet. I had laundry to do and clothes to change, but I didn’t want to miss her leaving. And yet I already missed her…the dearest, littlest best friend.
We prepared the kids at bedtime and cried with them, answered questions, explained as much as we knew, and prayed. And tucked them in. And checked on her. And she was still pawing, but with all four legs now, slowly, like she was running to the Lion who loves her.
We went back downstairs to the couch and prayed, just Vin and me. Usually she’s there when we pray, too, and we talked about all the little things we missed her doing – waiting for us on the stairs when we pull in the driveway, biting magnets off the fridge, sleeping shamelessly on the warm kitchen counter when the dishwasher is running.
And as He spoke, He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them.
And for us this the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story.
All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.
– C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle
We prayed, and went back upstairs to check on her.
And she was warm, but just gone…caught up with the Lion who loves her, and us.